4 Simple Tips for Raising Generous and Charitable Kids.
4 Simple Tips for Raising Generous and Charitable Kids.
When children are young, their primary focus is to make sure that their needs are met by their parents’, caregivers, and the surrounding people. So it means that children learn to ask for what they want fairly early in their stages of development and this streak will continue for a while. However, as children grow and mature with age, it also becomes necessary for them to see outside their own needs and begin to be more responsive to the needs of others.
We believe that the role of the parents is the biggest in helping children develop generosity both through role modeling and through teaching and encouragement. All parents want to raise children who feel empathetic about others and are charitable, but this spirit of generosity does not always come naturally to all children as they are still children and do not understand things such as giving. It is up to us as teachers, parents, and caregivers to instill values such as kindness, sensitivity, and empathy towards others so that your children can learn to reflect generosity.
As children are born naturally curious and can absorb everything around them with their natural innocence, they can sometimes turn out to be kinder and generous than adults. However, as a concept, children may not understand giving or charity while often displaying acts of empathy from a young age, and this can be surprising. So yes, what we are trying to mean here is quite paradoxical, as children can be incredibly self-centered and selfish at times and want to keep everything they like to themselves. While that is natural to children, they can also just go out of their way and comfort you and show qualities of such great stature that will impact you greatly as well. What we can do to help is to teach them, and guide them in further developing their empathy and teaching them about being generous, as ultimately we all need more generous people in the world. Therefore, we will look at ways to raise generous children in this blog.
1. Teach generosity from an early age
Generosity is something that you can start teaching as early as preschool age. Begin teaching the lessons of sharing right from the time your children are very young. You can begin teaching children qualities of generosity by ensuring that your children share their books and toys generously with their siblings or friends when they come over to play.
Explain to your children how happy they feel when their friends share their toys or snacks with them and tell them their friends will feel the same way well they reciprocate the same.
You can also talk about generosity from an early age by pointing out when you see others being generous and can appreciate that deed by saying things like “oh, look how Anita is sharing her chocolates. Such a generous attribute” and similar appreciative terms so that children understand that generosity is something that’s encouraged.
Also, actively involve your children when there is an opportunity to gift something to somebody. Ask your children’s opinions in the selection of gifts, get their help in wrapping and giving it. You can also show how hospitality is a necessary attribute while teaching generosity, by welcoming other children into your homes for play dates, so your children can practice sharing their space and things with others.
2. Praise acts of generosity
Children do nice things for others naturally from time to time. So every time you notice a nice gesture like sharing a treat or a toy, giving a compliment or even being thoughtful and helpful, praise your children for the behavior.
At every opportunity, make sure you point out that they are being generous and what exactly they did was worth the appreciation while you praise them. Also, talk to them about how they feel when they help others or are being generous and help them put into words the positive feelings they experience.
Remember that positive recognition and encouragement for something that children do will more likely help them to continue doing the same.
3. Encourage empathy
One of the first things to remember is that generosity begins with understanding or thinking about how others feel. Parents can cultivate this empathetic behavior by helping children imagine and explain how others feel with simple instances and examples.
You can do this using everyday occurrences such as asking your child “how do you think your sister felt when you took away the toys she was playing with? Or how do you think your sister feels when you share your chocolates with her?” and so on.
You can also take your children out and seek opportunities where you can teach them empathy, such as participating in a food donation drive or a clothing drive, et cetera. When children carefully choose from their loved toys and clothings, something special to give to somebody else, they will feel the connection and empathetic feelings more strongly.
4. Model generosity
According to Susan Crites, author of The Giving Family: Raising Our Children to Help Others, “Make it an expectation in your family that your children will give and serve. If you show by example that one of your family’s values is helping others, children will get the message that this is something important their parents do and that they should be a part of it”.
So by being kind and generous to those in need, you are modeling generous behavior for your children to learn. Often our children are unaware when we are a part of charity or work for any cause, because something as simple as running an errand for your sick neighbor or cooking an extra batch of dinner for a struggling family may not seem like something that you should point out to your child as a generous behavior.
However, with every act of kindness you perform, you have to emphasize to your child why you are doing it and how it will help people and therefore inculcate attributes of generosity to your children.
Remember that charity and generosity is a long journey and children are not going to grasp the concept of giving right away. It is not only about the immediate impact but about the journey of raising empathetic children in the long run, which happens in small steps and over time.
So rather than teaching as a concept, make charity or generosity a natural part of your child’s growth and development so that it becomes a part of their lives. Ultimately, your children are more likely to grow into kind, charitable, empathetic, and giving adults when they are surrounded by people who are generous and understanding.
Acknowledging even the smallest actions towards generosity is important when you are teaching children this necessary quality. Patience and modeling on your part will go a long way towards helping children develop and imbibe this spirit of generosity, so your children can also discover that it is, after all, true when they say giving can be the best gift of all.